NIDA Acknowledges Drawbacks to Monopoly on Marijuana Supply

Members of the US Senate at a hearing yesterday expressed skepticism in regard to federal policies limiting the ability of investigators to engage in clinical studies of marijuana’s health benefits.

Senators heard from representatives from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center and Project SAM on a variety of issues

The hearing’s most noteworthy moment came when Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, acknowledged that the monopoly on marijuana cultivation for research purposes ought to be amended. Currently, NIDA contracts strictly with the University of Mississippi to grow marijuana for use in research studies. This has led to a cannabis supply that is often delayed significantly and lacking in quality.

Dr. Volkow was supported in her acknowledgement by Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, Deputy Director for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research with the FDA who answered, “Yes, I think there are advantages to a broad supply of varied marijuana.”

When questioned on whether or not other drugs in the Schedule 1 classification experience this same monopoly, Dr. Volkow said no and there was no scientific reason to treat them differently.

This acknowledgement by Dr. Volkow falls in line with a previous ruling by a DEA administrative law judge in 2007 which was later set aside by former DEA Director, Michele Leonhart.

Other topics discussed at the hearing included expanded access programs which have currently authorized treatment for 400 patients in the U.S. using Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a formulated product containing cannabidiol (CBD) that possesses orphan drug status from the FDA to treat pediatric epilepsy.

While it is clear that Senators Gillibrand (D-NY) and Booker (D-NJ) are making strides to reform federal medical marijuana law, it remains to be seen if Senator Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) will also take action.

21 thoughts

  1. I enjoyed reading this until the very last sentence:

    “…it remains to be seen if Senator Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) will also take action.”

  2. It is well known and pictorially documented on web that the University of Mississippi Monopoly oops sorry Medical Center rolls its “medical” cannabis into big 900-mg $igarettes, each containing enough herb for thirty-six (36) single tokes in a 25-mg.-capacity screened one-hitter. I have seen a picture of a tin with a hundred or more of these “Megajoints” in it, evidently designed to be ignited and used up in minutes, with puff temperatures approaching 700C etc.

    Conflict of interest? Why doesn’t Dr. El Sohly, reportedly the director there, look after the health interests of the legitimate signed-up patients by providing herb in a way designed to be vaporized (or at least single-toked), thus protecting against $moking-related illness (from heat shock, carbon monoxide, 4221 combustion toxins) popularly blamed on the cannabis for decades?

    Please, researchers, get bizzy and find out, is it because the federal government that funds that operation is paid off by lucrative $igarette tax revenues and wants everyone to think the profitable overdose $igarette $moking format is the only “normal” (sorry) way to inhale herbal nutrients?

    Is it because Mississippi has a Republican government and Republicans receive twice as much re-election campaign money and lobbying (lawbuying) attention from the $igarette Industry as Democrats do? Questions, questions.

  3. I say, I must agree with Galileo Galilei. Grassely and Feinstein, 2 of the least compassionate federal politicians regarding anything cannabis. DiFi is one of those prohibitionists in the Democratic Party who gives lip service of the compassionate kind, yet stalls by calling for more research. I have to express (moet ik effen kwijt) my disappointment at her–what seems to me–incompetence about not knowing about the mass surveillance the government was doing on and mass data they collected on everyday Americans, DEA included in using that information against the cannabis community. I suspect she knew more all along than she was letting on. So, Casablanca’s policeman, aghast to be told gambling is going on and feigning ignorance all the while that shit stuck to his shoes the whole time. DiFi, you stepped in it. Grassley, when I’m not bugged out by his crazy-looking eyes, he’s usually offering some red meat of some kind to the Obama haters/Clinton haters or uttering something else I disagree with.

    Dr. Volkow, NIDA,being at Johns Hopkins, is just outside the DC Beltway, but barely. Only the blatant civil disobedience and constant debunking of the prohibitionist arguments has worn away at her obstinance. How long will it take Ole Miss to produce many and varied strains with different high and low THC:CBD ratios? El Sohly developed anything similar to Charlotte’s Web? What all different kinds of strains has he got at Ole Miss that in THC:CBD potencies and rations are equivalents to those anyone can find at either a medical marijuana or adult recreational dispensary? It’s a freakin’ waste of money to have the government try to duplicate what’s already been done! Just let labs use whatever they want from the Colorado shops or other states’ shops or gardens and seed stock. WTF!

    And then there’s this article exposing the shameful link between JAMA and the American Medical Association and Big Pharma giving them perks and basically being in the pocket of Big Pharma and feeding at the Big Pharma trough.

    Everyone just keep ignoring the federal government’s prohibition, and state by state do the right thing.

    Legalize the sale of viable seeds so we don’t have to have the prohibitionists stall and stretch things out even in states where there are MMJ laws. Legalize the seeds so people don’t have to wait for actual brick and mortar shops actually are open to the public.

    Every legal sale of cannabis is money that did NOT go to the cartels, that did NOT go toward violence in, let’s say, Mexico. Mexican lives count, too.

    Which major U.S. cities will legalize Amsterdam-style, BIBOB test, and not enforce federal or state prohibition on adult retail? DeBlasio? Hey, de Blasio, strikingly like the white guy politician in the movie How High.

    Then there is this article on a study from Freiburg, Germany, that espouses that you can fail a drug test from handling bud. Is this true? I did other searches on the topic and the answer was no, because it didn’t get absorbed through the skin and make it into the bloodstream. So, can one test positive on from merely handling cannabis? What were the controls in this study to make sure the participants were negative before the study, and only rolled joints with the weed and didn’t pocket it any and leave and smoke? Anybody look into this study and pick it apart?

    Legalize cannabis now!

  4. It is fascinating to observe this slow but steady enlightenment in officialdom. The veil is rising on the absurdity of barriers and restrictions uniquely placed on this beneficial plant.

    The legislative process is at long last addressing the fundamental stupidities wrapped up in marijuana prohibition that many of us have been acutely aware of and shouting at them for decades.

  5. I wonder what it ‘s like for all those people just figuring out that NIDA has an exclusive contractor to produce limited, poor quality marijuana from the University of Mississipi for the last four decades, prohibiting research and treatment internationally… and that they have been using our tax dollars to deny the medical efficacy of marijuana as mandated by the Controlled Substances Act all these years too?

    Is it like, you’re eating a bowl of cereal, get to the paragraph about the government’s farm at Ol’ Miss and just spit milk and hemp-flax granola everywhere? Or are you tokin on a number and get to the part about NIDA and start choking off your chair?

    We like to think everyone is up to speed on marijuana policy but I always wonder what it’s like for the newbie…

  6. “Senator Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) will also take action”

    Sadly, considering their past track record, I expect them to continue blocking research and maintaining their prohibitionist stance regarding marijuana…

    It would brighten my day considerably if they were to finally admit they have been wrong for many years and now see the light. Feinstein in particular really pisses me off considering she is a Democrat. As for Grassley, well, as a Republican his views come as no surprise…

  7. Government administrators claim “just doing our job” when questioned about the efficacy of the drug war. Didn’t germans make the same claim at the end of the second world war? Didn’t all the holocaust collaborators make the same claim to their attocities? Does the world need to make the same responses to criminal intrusions into personal space and healthcare decisions? How many will a frustrated public need to hang before they get the picture?

  8. Glad to see this issue is coming to light, even if we haven’t made as much progress as I’d hope. Thanks for sharing, and keep us updated!

  9. The workings of the human mind cannot fit into a small mechanical box. However, our government’s view of modern society is exactly that people can be defined as mechanical legs and arms walking around, each guided by a delicate mechanical computer perched on its shoulders and that the brain is subject to implicit search and mechanical health laws.

  10. Volkow: Look, I am sorry, please, anything, all I said was that there are drawbacks.

    DEA Thug: Don’t look at me. You surrendered the war on drugs. You legalized murder. You re-crucified Jesus.

  11. We need to elect officials that will bring about the changes we seek, and remove the officials that don’t. That’s our responsibility and if we don’t do that, we get what we deserve.

  12. How do you get what you deserve ? When politicians lie when they get in and only one that has $ can buy the presidency. And if the person has enough clout they can make votes vanish. It’s a smoke screen! Wake up! Big $, makes all these government jobs enticing! Just look once they arrive, they don’t leave! Like the roach motel! It’s like a private club. I just shake my head. What else is there to say? Watch rt tv.

  13. Compassionate Investigational New Drug program

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Jump to: navigation, search

    The Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, or Compassionate IND, is a United States Federal Government-run Investigational New Drug program that allows a limited number of patients to use medical marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi. It is administered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Closed to new entrants, there are four surviving patients who were grandfathered into the program.[1]

    Contents [hide]
    1 Origin
    2 Remaining patients
    3 References
    4 External links


    Medicinal cannabis farmed by the University of Mississippi for the government
    The origins of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Study program began after Robert Randall brought a lawsuit (Randall v. U.S)[2] against the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health, Education & Welfare. Randall, afflicted with glaucoma,[2] had successfully used the Common Law doctrine of necessity to argue against charges of marijuana cultivation because it was deemed a medical necessity (U.S. v. Randall). On November 24, 1976, federal Judge James Washington ruled:

    While blindness was shown by competent medical testimony to be the otherwise inevitable result of the defendant’s disease, no adverse effects from the smoking of marijuana have been demonstrated…Medical evidence suggests that the medical prohibition is not well-founded.[3][4]

    The criminal charges against Randall were dropped, and following a petition (May 1976) filed by Randall, federal agencies began providing him with FDA-approved access to government supplies of medical marijuana, becoming the first American to receive marijuana for the treatment of a medical disorder. Randall went public with his victory and shortly after the government tried to prevent his legal access to marijuana. This led to the 1978 lawsuit where Randall was represented pro bono publico by law firm Steptoe & Johnson. Twenty-four hours after filing the suit, the federal agencies requested an out-of-court settlement which resulted in Randall gaining prescriptive access to marijuana through a federal pharmacy near his home.

    The settlement in Randall v. U.S. became the legal basis for the FDA’s Compassionate IND program.[2] Initially only available to patients afflicted by marijuana-responsive disorders and orphan drugs, the concept was expanded to include HIV-positive patients in the mid-1980s. At its peak, the program had thirty active patients. It stopped accepting new patients in 1992 after public health authorities concluded there was no scientific value to it, and due to President George H.W. Bush administration’s desire to “get tough on crime and drugs.” As of 2011, four patients continue to receive cannabis from the government under the program.[5]

    Clinton A. Werner, author of “Medical Marijuana and the AIDS Crisis”, says that the closure of the government program during the height of the AIDS epidemic led directly to the formation of the medical cannabis movement in the United States, a movement which initially sought to provide cannabis for treating anorexia and wasting syndrome in AIDS patients.[6]

    Remaining patients[edit]

    The remaining patients in the Compassionate IND program were grandfathered in. As of 2014, there were only four surviving patients (two patients who entered the program anonymously are believed to have died). What follows is a table listing the last six patients who are not anonymous, and details of their cases.[7]

    Name of Patient Diagnosis Date entered
    IND Program Marijuana dosage
    Per Month* Years in program Status
    (as of 7/19/12)
    Douglass, Barbara Multiple sclerosis August 30, 1991 9 ounces 23 Still enrolled
    McMahon, George Nail-patella syndrome March 16, 1990 8 ounces 25 Still enrolled
    Millet, Corrine Glaucoma November 16, 1990 4 ounces 17 Deceased (December 2007)
    Musikka, Elvy Glaucoma October 17, 1988 8 ounces 26 Still enrolled
    Randall, Robert Glaucoma November, 1976 24 Deceased (June 2, 2001)
    Rosenfeld, Irvin Rare bone disorder November 20, 1982 9 ounces 32 Still enrolled

    * One cured ounce can equate to about 40 joints (marijuana cigarettes).


    1.Jump up ^ Goldman, Russell (November 24, 2009). “Man Sets Marijuana Record, Smokes 115,000 Joints Provided by Federal Government”. ABC News. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
    2.^ Jump up to: a b c Ben Amar M (2006). “Cannabinoids in medicine: a review of their therapeutic potential” (PDF). Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Review) 105 (1–2): 1–25. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.02.001. PMID 16540272.
    3.Jump up ^ Lee, M. A. (2012). Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 143912793X.
    4.Jump up ^ The Criminal Law Reporter. 20. Bureau of National Affairs. Arlington, Va. 1976. p. 2300.
    5.Jump up ^ AP (September 27, 2011). “4 Americans get medical pot from the feds”. Associated Press News.
    6.Jump up ^ Werner, Clinton A. (March 4, 2001). “Medical Marijuana and the AIDS Crisis”. J Cannabis Ther. (3/4): 17-33.
    7.Jump up ^ “Who are the patients receiving medical marijuana through the federal government’s Compassionate IND program?”. July 19, 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012.

    External links[edit]
    Patients Out of Time, a 501(c)(3) organization whose leadership is comprised partly by the medical patients in the IND program
    Archived copy of George McMahon’s website from June 2008
    Elvy Musikka’s article linked to on George McMahon’s website
    A news article about the 7 surviving patients
    Stalemate Over Medicinal Use of Marijuana article by Pete Guither

  14. And speaking of drawbacks and setbacks, on a related note Pennsylvania prohibitionist politician Representative Matt Baker, did a total 180 on his previous stance of planning on keeping SB3 to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania indefinitely in the Health Committee which he chairs.

    Will it come up for a vote on the House floor before the legislature breaks for their summer vacation?

    Here are the title of the article and excerpts, with the source link underneath:

    Pennsylvania: House Health Committee Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

    The bill will now go to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.

    The vote follows the filing of a discharge petition by Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) that would have removed SB 3 from the Health Committee where it had stalled and put it before the full House for a vote.

    “I want to be thrilled by Baker’s shocking reversal to move this bill out of his committee today, but after such fierce opposition to this bill I have to wonder if this is just another stall tactic being used to prevent us from getting medicine to our loved ones,” said Lolly Bentch, member of Campaign 4 Compassion, whose daughter has intractable epilepsy.

  15. “How do you get what you deserve ? When”

    When we are forced to choose between tweedle dee and tweedle dum??? They aren’t that different from one another and are both way different than us…

    How are they different from us you might ask. Well, for starters the dees and dums of the world are very rich and powerful to even get on the ballet in the first place. Secondly, they are really good liars. They have much lower ethical standards than the people they serve and seem to care little for them.

    I suspect that most of the dees and dums don’t believe in God except when using miscellaneous phrases from the bible helps their cause; whatever that may be… The bible is filled with contradictions so it isn’t hard to find a passage that supports whatever agenda the dees and dums want…

    We deserve better! We have been forced to take what we have; and it sucks!

    President Obama is the first president in my lifetime that I thought would be different. His campaign slogan “Yes we can” really got to me. Unfortunately, either he lied or found the Republican agenda too strong to fight. What else could explain his stated belief that he doesn’t think marijuana should be legal? I think most of us know this is not what he really thinks; which is why so many of us voted for him.

  16. @TheOracle & Miles

    To me Senator Grassely(R) represents a old school, maniacal reefer madness that the GOP openly courts as voters, it’s base.

    I don’t know what Senator Feinstein’s(D) problem is. I think she and her partner should take a second honeymoon in Colorado, then get back to us.

    Incidentally, I got to see a genuine DEA badge a short while ago. For some reason the guy boldly, blatantly displayed it to me. A work of art! These guys get really, really cool badges.

    I wasn’t even wearing the hoodie my son gave to me either.

  17. Over the last couple of months Senator Grassley and I have had a little back and forth exchange of letters on the bill before the Senate. He actually made my case that marijuana has medical uses by telling me about all the wonderful marijuana mimicking drugs big pharma has delivered and is working on. I’m thinking we could save a lot of money by just growing it ourselves. If you’re from Iowa and a registered voter he (his team) will respond. If you’re reading this it’s time to write your Congress critters and submit editorials to your local newspapers, I did.

  18. Lets see, “We like to think everyone is up to speed on marijuana policy but I always wonder what it’s like for the newbie…”

    Everyone in the government is and has been for decades–how else do you suppose a scam this large is still going on? I just figured out what and who is being served with “Protect and Serve” as when it comes to marijuana, it sure isn’t the American People. It is crackers like Feinstein and Grassley; and Michele (fuck da Constitution) Leonhart. Question, why hasn’t the rug these assholes stand on been pulled out so they can fall fast and hard? Researchers discussing the supply of fake marijuana from Mississippi and how it doesn’t work for you know “research”–This too is waste of my taxes too, what great assholes these folks are. They take our money and short-circuit the economy. They may as well just shred the money. Then these clowns wonder why we have a giant deficit. There is no value in punishing innocent people–the money is just being stolen and wasted on promoting more crimes (by the police and the public). It is a waste from the Government’s point of view and from the Taxpayer’s. The only ones that like the corruption are the drug warriors–everyone else just wants to free from excessive taxes and not worry about corruption inviting more crime into their neighborhoods.

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